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#3168030 11/02/21 11:30 AM
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Hello, I've been learning for a little over a year, had to stop lessons because of the pandemic and at this point I'm mostly studying by myself while I get ready to go back to in person classes. I just got a digital piano and since my old keyboard had key sensitivity I thought I wasn't too behind on that but boy was I wrong, I'm having a hard time adjusting, specially fingers 4 and 5 are all over the place, either I play too hard or too soft. Is there any exercises to help with that? Thank you.

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TheLadyBee #3168042 11/02/21 12:18 PM
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Hi LadyBee! Welcome to Piano World and ABF. smile

This Spring I switched from a digital piano to a VPC1 which is a controller with rather heavy action, and just like you it took me quite some time to adjust. One of the things I did was playing scales and work with dynamics. I started playing legato, trying to make every note equally loud, approximately mezzo forte. Then the same thing non-legato. Then playing scales first piano, then mezzo piano, then mezzo forte, and then forte, once again first legato and then non-legato. Then scales with a gradual crescendo when going up, and a gradual diminuendo when going down. And finally, the other way around, a gradual diminuendo when going up, and a gradual crescendo when going down.

I did not only play scales, but they certainly helped me a lot to adjust to the action.


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TheLadyBee #3168049 11/02/21 12:45 PM
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Can't say adjusting to the keyboard action alone solves the problem of controlling dynamics.

I've been watching a few online tutorials for beginners. The first thing a teacher would do is get students to focus on using the arm weight to play the keys. Beginners have a tendency to rely on the fingers for playing. Some fingers are stronger than others so it's harder to control dynamics. The fingers should be loose and they only sit on the keys. It's the arm weight that push the keys down.

TheLadyBee #3168125 11/02/21 06:11 PM
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As far as exercises, just plain old scales work well. 4 octaves, hands together, so you have plenty of time to get louder and softer. Make up your own pattern - start soft and get louder or vice versa. I visualize lifting up the arms to play softer. Thinking about pushing down never really worked for me. Or course, I am not really lifting the arms, just thinking about it. Sort of suspended. Normal arm weight is mf, less to play softer, more to play louder.

Sam


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TheLadyBee #3168176 11/02/21 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TheLadyBee
either I play too hard or too soft. Is there any exercises to help with that?

An easy technique to improve your dynamic is only focus on dynamic.
What I mean is...
Select a reasonably interesting piece that is not challenging, that you can play fairly well, that you enjoy playing.
Play the whole piece with the same dynamic, start with as soft as you are able to maintain the same dynamic for the whole piece.
Don't change the dynamic.
Record yourself, and listen to it. You'll be shocked at how much the dynamic changes when you're trying really hard not to change it.
Play the same piece, again, at a louder dynamic, keeping that dynamic.
Do it again, louder.
Keep doing this until you play it at the loudest dynamic as you are able to maintain for the whole piece.
Repeat the whole process but at a faster tempo, starting at a low dynamic.
Repeat the whole process at an even faster tempo.
Do this until you've had enough.
It should get about as tedious as scales, but the improvement happens when all you can think of is how tedious it is.
You'll be amazed at how your dynamic control improves.

Last edited by JohnnyIssieBangie; 11/02/21 11:39 PM.
TheLadyBee #3168189 11/03/21 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by the LadyBee
. . .I just got a digital piano and since my old keyboard had key sensitivity I thought I wasn't too behind on that but boy was I wrong, I'm having a hard time adjusting, specially fingers 4 and 5 are all over the place, either I play too hard or too soft. Is there any exercises to help with that? Thank you.

To be clear:

. . . What make/model was your old keyboard?

. . . What make/model is your new instrument?

If the new one is sold as a "digital piano", it will probably have keys which are "weighted" or "hammer-action". If the old one had "key sensitivity" or "touch sensitivity", it might have had either "weighted" keys, or "synth-action / spring-action" keys.

Going from synth-action (unweighted) to weighted keys can be quite a shock. The fundamental technique of pressing down a key is different, and you'll have to adjust.

Something like Sam_S's suggestion is a good one. Just play scales (including those with lots of black keys) slowly, concentrating on getting the sound to be even, note-to-note.

If you're going to re-start lessons, make sure your teacher understands that you're not used to weighted keys, and that you need some remedial work on "using arm weight", and evening-out your dynamics when using different fingers.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq
TheLadyBee #3168193 11/03/21 01:18 AM
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Talking about exercises, Hanon's no. 5, 11, 12 are good for training fingers 4 and 5 to begin with. You may play it increasing loudness with each pattern or playing one pattern pp, then the next mf, then p, then f, then mp, then ff.

TheLadyBee #3168216 11/03/21 04:47 AM
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I'm not sure if this will make sense over text, but here goes:
Practice lifting and dropping fingers 4 and 5 properly. Try to ensure that the knuckles of each finger do not collapse while pressing a note. Gradually increase the pressure you put on the finger.

TheLadyBee #3168400 11/04/21 03:16 AM
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I am of the opinion if you are a beginner forced without a teacher to self learn it's best not to practice incorrect technique. I am not sure the advice is all useful. you may just practice incorrect technique with no guidance of new exercises. I therefore would avoid piano exercises entirely to avoid practicing incorrect technique. I would suggest you try to find appropriate level music until you get back in person lessons. It was my tactic but I went back to online lessons. Most teachers now do face to face so it's a good reason to restart. You can learn to control the sound by pressing keys speeds with any music really and I would just play previously learnt music and if you can manage then one year of lessons is enough to play simple music. Good luck


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